Michigan leaders react to health care ruling

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder:

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is legislation that misses the point on the most important reforms needed in our health care system.  In the meantime, it has been a detriment to the economic recovery of our country by causing massive uncertainty regarding medical costs which discourages job creation.

The greatest health care opportunity to our citizens is prevention in terms of both personal quality of life and societal costs.  The Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan is a good starting point as it is aimed at reducing obesity and improving overall wellness in Michiganders by focusing on four healthy behaviors and four health measures.

In addition to addressing wellness, our nation needs to make a systematic review of the cost structures of our health care system.  We have great people in our system, but we have built a system that focuses on spending more and more to solve acute care problems rather than a person-centered medical home model focused on the overall well-being of the individual.

While I may not agree with everything in the law, now that the Supreme Court has essentially upheld the Act, we must act quickly to avoid an undue burden on Michigan residents and job providers.  Working with our legislative leaders to establish the MiHealth Marketplace will allow Michiganders to make decisions regarding what will be covered as opposed to Washington, D.C. making those decisions for us.  It will also allow us to draw down federal dollars to assist with the costs of complying with the law. 

Implementing this law will require an immense amount of coordination between the public and private sectors. We plan on working closely with Michigan consumers, businesses and health providers to ensure that the decisions we make have as much of a positive impact on Michigan as possible."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

"Today's Supreme Court ruling is an important step toward universal health care coverage, which is long overdue. It ensures that millions of Americans who have health insurance will be more able to depend on their coverage without fear of losing it to the whims of an insurance company. It ensures that millions more who do not have insurance today will not be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. And it ensures that millions of parents will be able to keep their children covered to age 26. I have always believed in the law's ability to make a real and positive difference in peoples' lives, and I'm gratified that the court's decision protects the interests of American families who have so much to gain from health insurance reform.

We were right to rein in the power that insurance companies held over our health care. I believe Americans will broadly support today's decision, and that they will reject Republican attempts, already announced, to deprive Americans of the protections of the Affordable Care Act by repealing it."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

"I am deeply disappointed with this ruling by the United States Supreme Court.  I am extremely concerned as well, about the impact of this decision on the personal liberties and basic Constitutional rights of Americans. Today's decision raises the stakes – does the reach of federal government have any limits at all?  If the federal government can force you to purchase a product or pay a hefty fine, there is virtually no limit to what it can compel you to do. I will carefully review all aspects of this ruling.  Today's opinion only strengthens my resolve to work with other national leaders to repeal ObamaCare and fight for and defend the Constitution."

Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

"I could not be more upset that the Supreme Court has upheld this massive attack on Michigan's working-class families and mandates for insurance coverage that citizens have repeatedly objected to. I am mad and disappointed, but we remain committed to fighting for Michigan's future. Healthcare does need to be reformed, but the federal government has gone in exactly the wrong direction. We will do everything we can in the Michigan House to fight for Michigan's hardworking taxpayers. I do not support Obamacare, its huge middle-class tax hike or its one-size-fits-all mandate on our citizens. We now have a responsibility to protect Michiganders as much as possible from these federal mandates on individual healthcare. We will fight to ensure that medical decisions are made where they should be made: between patients and doctors. We will work with Gov. Snyder and the state Senate to see that Michiganders have access to healthcare that is marketplace-driven and provides competition, transparency and common sense options. Having the state establish a healthcare exchange is not something we wish to do, but we cannot stand idly by and hand over our citizens' healthcare to an overreaching federal bureaucracy. We will focus on putting people first and protecting them from this massive tax increase on Michigan's working families."

Sen. Tupac Hunter, D- Detroit.

"It is unconscionable that the question to repeal the draconian Emergency Manager Law has still not been placed on the November ballot. The initiative has more than enough signatures from citizens around the state who know that this law is an over-reach and an affront to democracy. I stand with AFSCME Council 25 and their rally in Detroit demanding that the voice of the voters be heard. The courts have ordered that this measure be certified; there is no excuse for it not to be done immediately. Election officials across the state are trying to prepare their ballots, time is running to approve the measure. We cannot stand for the further disenfranchisement of our citizens."

House Judiciary Committee Member John Conyers, Jr. D-Mich.

"Today is a historic day. The Affordable Care Act can now takes its rightful place among this nation's other critical efforts to ensure that the basic human needs of all Americans are met.  Just as our Social Security and Medicaid systems provide a critical safety net to older Americans, the Affordable Care Act will help make health care more affordable and accessible for all.  This law ensures that health insurance bureaucrats can no longer deny a child health care because of a pre-existing condition and millions of young Americans can now receive coverage on their family plans until they are 26.  And longstanding disparities and discrimination in health care for women and minorities will come to an end. I am also pleased that the Court upheld the law's provisions expanding Medicaid to 15 million additional Americans.  The decision provides a strong incentive for states to comply with the law. I am heartened that the Court upheld the rule of law and adhered to long-standing legal precedent.  I encourage individuals of all parties to seize this opportunity to set aside our differences and move forward together to implement this landmark achievement for the American people." 

United Auto Workers

"Now that the false arguments against the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act have been put to rest, we will continue to advocate for quality, cost-effective health care for our members and all Americans," said UAW President Bob King. "The UAW strongly supports health care reform.  It's morally unacceptable to leave tens of millions of Americans with no insurance coverage, and it's economically unsustainable to force working families and retirees to bear the burden of out-of-control costs," King added. "Even UAW members with excellent health insurance coverage worry about their children, many of whom are struggling to find work or working in jobs with no benefits," King said. "By allowing parents to keep children on their policy until age 26, the Affordable Care Act has already benefited thousands of our members. King added that by increasing the number of Americans with coverage through subsidies and the individual mandate, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the burden of expensive, uncompensated care that is now borne by our members and their employers. We call on Gov. Romney and Republicans in Congress to stop playing politics with the health care of the American people.  Their continued pledge to repeal the law is a waste of time and would hurt millions of families.  It's time to focus on the real business at hand -- strengthening our economy and putting Americans back to work."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan  

"Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has clarified the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will continue to lead Michigan's health insurers in implementing changes necessary to have a well-functioning health insurance market in place for Michigan consumers by October 1, 2013. That is when the health exchange is scheduled to be open for people to enroll in coverage.

"In many ways, Blue Cross serves as the model for the system created by the federal health reform law," said Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO. "Our long history of guaranteeing high-quality, community-rated coverage to all who apply, regardless of medical condition, gives the Blues a deserved reputation as a place of strength and stability for health care consumers.  Our history also gives us a responsibility to ensure that Michigan's people, employers and health care providers are ready for the future. We will be redoubling our efforts to ensure that Michigan is informed and ready for a new health insurance marketplace with new rules and standards for coverage."

Since the day the federal health reform law went into effect, BCBSM has implemented changes to its business operations and benefit designs to comply with new federal guidelines, prepare for doing business on the state's health exchange and continue to improve business for stakeholders.  BCBSM will continue working with state and federal policymakers, as well as the health care industry in Michigan, to prepare for a new marketplace.

"Blue Cross has been tireless in our efforts to ensure our business is ready for reform and our stakeholders are informed," said Kirk Roy, BCBSM vice president for its Office of National Health Reform. "Michigan has some work to do to construct its exchange and build a consistent regulatory framework underneath it to serve consumers. Blue Cross has advised on those efforts and will continue to offer our expertise to policymakers as we work together to construct a system that serves Michigan consumers with a choice of high-quality, affordable health insurance products to meet their unique needs."

BCBSM will take the following steps to promote affordable coverage:

Serve as a trusted advisor to consumers and stakeholders who have questions.

Modify and introduce innovative health plans that meet federal guidelines around essential benefits and actuarial value. 

Explore ways to make health plans more affordable so that those without insurance can purchase coverage.

Help people without coverage understand the subsidies they may qualify for, how to use them on the exchange and how they may, in certain cases, be eligible for Medicaid under expanded federal income criteria."

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